GERMANTOWN – An ugly win is still a win for the Northwest varsity football team.
Nearly 20 combined penalties marred the Jaguars’ opener Friday night against Gaithersburg.
When the dust settled after lost yardage and negated touchdowns, the home team Jags picked up their W, 27-6, over the visiting Trojans.
“I liked the effort and I loved the way our defense played,” said Jaguars head coach Mike Neubeiser, who graduated from Gaithersburg in 1990. “It would have been nice if the game didn’t go quite like this but we’ll take a win any way we can get it.”
The first half proved to be a low-scoring affair as both sides struggled to fall into a rhythm.
Five penalties in the first 10 minutes stymied any offensive momentum.
Northwest senior running back Khalil Owens finished with 99 rushing yards but didn’t find the end zone until late in the game.
Jaguars senior wide receiver Wesley McCormick caught a short pass from junior quarterback Chris Craddock and ran for 37 yards to first-and-goal at the four yard line.
Owens muscled his way up the middle for three more yards before Craddock’s quarterback sneak put Northwest on the board.
Senior kicker Nicholas Nicholas capped off the one-yard touchdown run with an extra point.
The Trojans found a golden opportunity in the second quarter as senior defensive back James Mabry intercepted Craddock at the 20 yard line.
Gaithersburg junior quarterback Tyler Woodward, however, couldn’t connect with any of his receivers, and the Jaguars regained possession on downs.
Gaithersburg senior wide receiver Malik Mosley broke through the Northwest defense for 26 yards in the third quarter.
A roughing-the-passer penalty on the Jaguars tacked another 15 yards on Mosley’s run and suddenly the Trojans were cooking in the red zone, with junior fullback Sidrick Ofori serving as the lead chef as he drove to his left for a nine-yard touchdown.
Gaithersburg head coach Kreg Kephart decided to go for the two point conversion but Woodward’s pass to Ofori fell incomplete.
“There hadn’t been a lot of scoring up until that point,” said Kephart. “I figured that we had a chance to take the lead and we might not get another chance to take the lead. If we could take the lead and the offenses kept sputtering, we might have been able to steal one.”
Unfortunately for the Trojans, the Northwest offense seemed to be warming up.
Owens and fellow running back Juwon Farri traded carries to move the ball down the field.
Sophomore running back Jaylen Lawrence raced past the Gaithersburg defense for a 26-yard touchdown.
Farri grabbed a touchdown of his own a few plays later. The Jaguars faked the extra point in a failed attempt to score two extra points.
Owens turned the jets on in the fourth quarter, dodging past Gaithersburg defenders to score his only touchdown of the evening.
The senior, nicknamed “KO,” said he prepares his body during practice so he can run hard.
“I try to run hard in practice and eat healthy and hydrate,” he said.
Up next, Gaithersburg (0-1) hosts Watkins Mill (1-0) for the Trojans’ home opener and Northwest prepares for the Kings Trophy rivalry match against Seneca Valley (1-0) in the Battle of Germantown.
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